On May 25, 2016, he asked me to marry him. Then, he died before our wedding day.
When I first wrote this blog a few years ago I sat re-reading those two sentences again and again and again. I just could not seem to process the words the letters are forming. My mind could not make sense of what I was reading. My heart could not accept the words on the page – the difference is this year I can. I accept Mike’s death and I accept that I do not have an actual Wedding Anniversary to celebrate today. I am okay with this because I like my life once again. Somehow, I have found a way to “be” happy with the life I have even though he is gone from my life.
Sure, it remains true, that never in a million years did I think this would be the story of my life. But, it is. This is my life. It is the one I’ve got.
It is fair to say Mike and I were just getting to the good part in our love story. We were leading up to the chapter where we were going to live happily ever after, and then he died. Yes, it is tragic. But, I can not let his death be the hallmark of my life.
There was no way for us to predict that our story was going to come to a sudden end. Looking back, there wasn’t any foreshadowing. Everything was coming up roses for us. Our life together was magical. And, even as I was living it, I remember stopping myself – in the middle of an ordinary moment – because I could not believe how beautifully everything was falling into place. Maybe it really was too good to be true. *Sigh.
Life was good for me and Mike. Our life together was better than anything either of us dreamed of. And, really, that’s an understatement. Then, one night Mike went to sleep and the next morning he never woke up. And, just like that, everything changed. Our story was over. There were no goodbyes. And, there will not be happily ever after for us. At least not here…
It’s been over five long years since he proposed to me on a warm night in Mexico. I can feel everything about that moment when Mike asked me to be his wife. It feels like just last night; and, at the very same time, it also feels like a lifetime ago too because Death makes the clock go haywire. When his heart stopped, time stopped making sense for me. A significant amount of time has passed since his proposal; and, now, I am happy to write that I am finally at peace with things. I accept that all our hopes and dreams will never come to be.
For so very long, I wanted to feel hopefulness inside me again. I yearned to feel that same thrill about the future that I felt when he was alive. And, with hard work, I learned to reproduce these feelings of hope and joyful anticipation on own. And, it was one hell of a tough thing to do. But, I did it, day by day. I am proud of myself, and he would be too.
Today as I write to you, I am content. I am enjoying living my life. I genuinely like my life again. I sincerely never thought this day would come, but it has.
Although my mind understands that he is gone from this dimension, on my Wedding Anniversary, my heart yearns for him; but, this year, my heart yearns for him more quietly. The ache is much softer than on other Anniversaries. Today, exactly five years later, I struggle less. I am not constantly daydreaming about a fictional life he promised me when he asked me to be his wife. I am not lost in thoughts about an imaginary life that we never got to live. Wishful thinking no longer detracts me from living the life before me. I am present in my life again. I have clawed my way out of the wreckage that is Mike’s death and I am living for me now.
4.9 years later, it is time to focus on the life I have, not the life that was supposed to be. In the past this was much easier said than done. I don’t know much for certain, but I can say, I’m not as lost without him anymore. I don’t know why or how, but I am able to live without Mike with more ease now. I have finally accepted that Mike died and he is never returning.
I wrote parts the original blog, “Marry Me”, years ago; and the good news is that my grief has changed a lot since then. Sure, I still imagine our life in my head, but I do it in a less “desperate” way. I’m less frantic now. I’m more at peace – thankfully.
In the past, I still very much wanted to be Mike’s wife. And, over the last 4.9 years I have learned that it is very difficult to fully participate in life when you still want to be a dead man’s wife. This wishful thinking can force you to exist in a type of limbo. And, l have learned that limbo is a very dangerous place to be. Now, today, August 20th, 2021 I no longer want to be the wife of a dead man. I want to live my life and my life no longer physically includes my dead fiance.
Life is for the living.
I did not; and I will be damned if his wife slowly dies here mourning him.
The best way I can honor Mike is to life a big, beautiful life. So, that is what I plan to do.
Over five years ago, on a balcony in Mexico, Mike asked me to marry him. He picked me to be his wife. And, I accepted. Then, Mike died before we said our wedding vows. But, in heart, we were married. And, Mike did in fact spend the rest of his life with me.
In the past, I couldn’t be satisfied with this. I could not be content to live a future different than the one I imagined. It just wasn’t enough. And, now, it is. That’s the mystery of grace. I am at peace with this mess that is his death. Now, it is enough for me that Mike died happy and madly in love. I’m so very grateful that I shared my life and love with him. Mike spent the rest of his life with me and that does count for something.
Written: MAY 28, 2018
(*edited August 2021)